Keep your best mate safe this summer
Summer is here, and so is the sunshine! That means trips to the beach, long warm evenings and whole dinners cooked on the BBQ – but it also means we need to remind ourselves that dogs DO NOT belong in hot cars.
On a hot day, the temperature inside your car can reach 39°C in 10 minutes. Even in the shade with the windows down, the temperature can rise to a deadly 49°C in 30 minutes. Your dog’s natural cooling process is ineffective in these conditions.
Dogs overheat much more quickly than humans as they cannot sweat like we can, but instead they pant to dissipate heat and cool their body temperature. This is near impossible to do when the air in their immediate environment is thick and hot, as it is in a hot car. Your dog’s normal body temperature is about 38.5°C. Their body can withstand a higher temperature for only a short amount of time before irreversible damage is done.
Signs of heatstroke
A dog in a hot car will soon overheat and suffer from heatstroke. Some symptoms to look out for are:
- Heavy panting
- Profuse salivation
- Extremely red gums and tongue
- Lack of co-ordination
- Loss of consciousness
If the dog is not removed from the car and treated quickly, symptoms can worsen to result in brain damage, or even death.
Emergency first aid
If a dog is overcome by heat exhaustion, give immediate first aid by cooling with water or other liquids (room temperature liquids are preferable as ice cold liquids can bring on shock or hypothermia).
- Wet the skin thoroughly, not just the coat. Focus on the belly and inside of the legs
- Spray or sponge the dog until their body temperature is lowered
- When the dog is cooling down and responding, gently dry the body
- If the dog is conscious give them small amounts of water
- Seek veterinary attention as soon as possible
If you find a dog locked in a car in distress, please call the Police or your local SPCA immediately.
Help us spread the word
Print copies to keep on hand for situations where you feel a dog could be in danger of being left in a hot car.